"from what state of   being


                    do    we



other species



 earth and sea
                     and treat Nature


as a 'collection of resources'

         to be exploited

  for short term benefit?"


                                                                                       -Charles Eisenstein


Updated: Apr 27

“Australians led a super-like existence, perched on the edge of their unruly continent, and their lives are like exotic orchids which have no relationship to the wilderness stretching between rim and rim. “


By Jamie Jonas via Unsplash

Embracing history allows us to empathise. To understand WHY people did things, what their motives were, how they felt.

Therein lies the key difference between describing and explaining.

I hope this article provides you with some key pieces to the puzzle that is this city and its' many facets, and ultimately - the world.

First Peoples ------------

The 29 tribes of original custodians of this land we now call New South Wales, is collectively known as the Eora People.

Photo by: Barani.com

Although a dark history presides here and in all of Australia, we thankfully have Aboriginals today who have been increasingly supported and recognised for their supreme knowledge of nature, sustainability, and life itself. The three main groups we should know as we learn about Sydney are:

- The Cadigal People - pertaining to Sydney city

- The Darug and Gundungurra People - stretch from Parramatta to the Blue Mountains

- The Dharawal people - commencing from the South of Botany Bay extending down to as far as Nowra.

Botany Bay in Sydney was the First Fleet's landing base. Their brutal crusade encompassed 11 ships carrying 1,400 people, 800 of which were convicts.

For a deeper focus on the monumental chain of events that took place from 1770 onwards, visit A Brief History of Australia.

The groups' differences were evident when looking at day to day activities, lore, beliefs and customs - nuances often missed by our very own formulated rat race we call modern civilisation. Eating, sharing, hunting, rituals - all melded intimately with a sage understanding of seasons and the availability of food and water in different places.

For example, the Cadigal lived bountifully in harmony with the ocean, spear fishing, shucking oysters and using fish bones, crab claws as tools. The Darug were paiendra or "Tomahawk People" and hunted mostly kangaroos, wallabies and possums, and used primarily stone axes as tools.

Although those alternative ways of living were based mostly on environmental and geographic factors, the Indigenous People were united in their core values, including rituals taken place during the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Boys were never allowed to pick up spears, that is, before completing the entire initiation process. This included venturing off alone to temporarily live with a foreign tribe, learning their language and their ways, before returning to their home. This process would usually take about 3 months, or as long as it took for the boy to become fluent in the language.

What an incredible way to build everlasting character! Can you imagine the format of modern society if we instilled such principles? It's on par with Graham Hancock's proposition that politicians should undergo 12 ayahuasca sessions before even being eligible for the position.

Real insight. Curious empathy. Deeper understanding. So powerful, its' troughs carving deep within our core.

Various types of markings, scars on their chests and bodies were mandatory, as well as a tooth ceremony, in which one of their front teeth was knocked out! This was the most obvious sign that a person was initiated, and earned respect as a warrior.

(Arthur Phillip, the first governor of NSW had a missing front tooth. Serendipitously, the Aboriginals recognised him as an initiated leader and thereby began a short pinnacle in the relationship between them and the settlers, where Phillip went a long way in gaining the trust of the Eora people, ruling that they mustn't be harmed and even befriending some, eg. Arabanoo & Bennelong).

Elders also prepared girls for adulthood. They learned culinary and medicinal knowledge of plants and roots, how to track small animals, ritual bathing and which foods were taboo. Fewer women's ceremonies were recorded when Europeans arrived because most anthropologists and linguists at the time were men.

For more on Australian Aboriginal history, visit the times of yesterday through Barani.

And further reading: Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe is highly recommended.

The Earth Beneath -----------

Australia's geological past is quite complex and incredibly diverse. In a universe peppered with gargantuan, age-renewing cataclysms, the oldest continent of the world is riddled with volcanoes, eroded mountain chains and intense folding and faulting, leading to some of the most magnificent formations man has ever seen.

Bearing the world's longest chain of continental volcanoes, Australia proves to be home to some of the most exciting and powerful natural events on Earth. Mt Gambier in South Australia was the last volcano to erupt about 5,000 years ago. Technically it is classified as active, as it will most likely erupt again conforming to its' once-every-ten-thousand-year cycle.

Volcano lover? Have a dig of this guy.

During the last Ice Age's lowest temperature level, the sea receded, and Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania were all once piece of land. When the ice age ended and temperatures started to rise, a surge in plant growth took place and hunter-gatherers began to thrive.

Tasmania was created by the rise of sea level about 11,000 years ago, and New Guinea was disconnected about 8,000 years ago.

Flora and Fauna ----------

Wattle (Acacia)

The golden wattle has thrived on the Australian continent for 35 million years, resilient to drought, wind and bushfire … in other words, the perfect symbol of the knockabout Aussie spirit.

The golden wattle is the official floral emblem of Australia.

Wattle Day falls on September 1, the first day of spring. Signifying the commencement of whale migration and eels abundant in billabongs (Indigenous word meaning river or lake) it also reinforces the flower’s status as a symbol of new growth, renewal and fresh beginnings. Our national gold and green, painted sprawlingly on every cheering fan's face were inspired by this flower.

Photo by Marie Cortonez via Unsplash


There are 75 species of Banksia found naturally in Australia. The Banksias branches spread upwards, and hold spikes topped with orange, red, yellow and vastly colourful mixes of flowers, ranging in size from knee-high woody shrubs to trees up to 30 metres tall.

Sir Joseph Banks, one of Australia's most decorated and beloved botanists, was the first European to collect specimens of Banksias in 1770, which is where these plants got their name.

The sweet nectar from Banksias was also used by the Aboriginal people to make a drink, and left to ferment to make a weak form of alcohol, which is called “Bool”.


The 1 of 5 species of Waratah bearing big beautiful red flowers has become the floral emblem of New South Wales.

As Sir James Smith, a noted botanist wrote in his journal in 1793: 'The most magnificent plant which the prolific soil of New Holland affords is, by common consent, both of Europeans and Natives, the Waratah. It is moreover a favourite with the latter, upon account of a rich honeyed juice which they sip from its flowers'.


A most underrated native Australian herb, it has been a pleasure to see and taste saltbush's distinct earthiness peppered (or salted?) throughout the menus of contemporary kitchens across Sydney.

Its' bushes can withstand saline, dry soils such as the ones found in the desert plains of western NSW.

Cabbage Tree Palms

Photo by: True Green Nursery

With glossy green leaves spanning 3-4 metres in length and a trunk reaching a height of up to 30 metres, the cabbage tree palm is one of the tallest Australian native plants.

Thriving in rainforest margins along the east coast of NSW, in summer this giant palm produces striking spikes of cream flowers which resemble cabbages.

The growing tip of the palm is edible and was popular with Aboriginal people, as they used the tree’s fibrous bark to make fishing lines, its leaves for weaving, thatched roofing and baskets.

Tree Ferns

To give our memories a little bit of a break, there are (only) two types of Native Australian Tree Ferns.

The Rough and the Soft Tree Ferns both have thick piney trunks, providing us with soft, pixelated shade under their umbrella-like ferns. As notable seen from above as they are from below, these classic canopies grow about 4cm a year, and can live for hundreds of years.


Photo by: Pete The Poet

Used to build the seating in the High Court of Australia, Coachwood is a very popular rainforest species, being one of the few that flourishes so well around Sydney bushland.

Unlike gumtrees, Coachwood don’t drop leaves, and will provide a slow moving, lush dark green foliage. Its’ flowers are initially white, turning pink as they mature.

Lilly Pilly

Photo by: Blerick Trees

Lilly Pllies are native Australian shrubs, often turning into trees in the wild.

They’ve become a favourite in the Aussie garden, not least because they’re able to withstand the erratic weather, but also because there are many different species of varying colours, leave shapes and sizes to suit the role of a hedge, a wind-breaker, or just as a beautiful, edible-fruit giving ornament.

Photo by: Polarsteps


A native, evergreen perennial tree, Sassafras can grow up to 35m.

Fun fact: Sassafras contains a clear yellow oil called safrole, which can be easily converted into MDMA!

Read about some interesting ways to get a buzz from the Australian bush, here.


A most unique compilation of species, nothing like it in the world. In our forests of tropical climate we find vast ecosystems protected purposefully and enduringly by stable guardians. Although gradually yielding to the soothing flows of water, the compacted sediment hollows an immense playground where sun and wind are restricted, allowing a bountiful world to exist, comprised of 75% eucalyptus.

Photo by: Anna Brozek

Another name for Gumtrees, over 3/4 of the forests in Australia are eucalyptus forests. With over 700 species. Here are some of the most common you'll find while exploring Sydney and beyond - eg, the Greater Blue Mountains.

(For the most comprehensive library and correlating pictures regarding Australian trees, visit here.)


The gum-tree stands by the spring. I peeled its splitting bark and found the written track of a life I could not read.

Extract from A Human Pattern: Selected Poems by Judith Wright.

As the name suggests, scribbles are the distinct markings of this variety of eucalyptus.

A pattern that for decades puzzled scientists, hikers and writers alike.

Interestingly, what gives the tree its most prominent characteristic is actually another life form - larvae, which eventually metamorphose into moths. A unique bio-interaction.

GREY GUM Very popular in NSW, recognisable by its light orange exposed flesh.

One of koala’s preferred foods.


The bark has a rough short stocking, but above that is very smooth, grey with blueish colours. A hardwood often used as timber in carpentry, and can grow up to 70m high.


At the base of the trunk, bark is rough and brown, leading to a smooth, whitish grey surface. Medium height, up to 40m.

Leaves are egg-shaped.


Grows up to 80m tall, bark sheds long narrow strips which often decorate the upper branches.

Fresh bark is smooth, whitish grey.

Leaves are long and very narrow like small spears.


Very distinctive bark, with light spots all over. There is no rough stocking on this tree, and is of various tones of grey.


You may have heard of the miracle tea tree oil (an essential oil that is anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory), paperbark trees or honey-myrtle. These are all members of the family of Melaleucas, along with 297 other relatives. Some are an important food source for insects, birds, and mammals collecting that sweet, sweet nectar.

Many are popular garden plants, and can range from small 1 metre shrubs to trees up to 35 metres.

For a look at animals, visit my other article: Native Australian Fauna.

National Parks -----------

Sea Cliff Bridge

Royal National Park

My personal favourite, not only for the deep curves amidst the cool rainforests' breath (great motorcycle track), the road through it also leads to the natural wonders of the Wedding Cake Rock and the Figure 8 Pools, where whales can be seen in magical moments between May and November.

Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park

Lonely Planet's top choice of National Parks in Sydney, not least because there's a track, beach, waterfall or scene that panders to everyone.

Wether you are/have:

  • A relaxed nature bather

  • Curious about hiking but hate cardio

  • Been jumping fences in other peoples backyards for practice

  • Desperately want to incorporate your inner Amazon

  • Dive-head first into a bush every time you see one

  • An advanced, high-adrenaline parkour jungle monkey

  • Bear Grylls

There's something there for you. This is Australia’s second oldest national park; remnants of pre-colonial Aboriginal life are visible today thanks to the preservation of more than 800 sites, including rock paintings, middens and cave art. You've got over 100km of shoreline to explore. Get stuck into it.

Photo by: step.org.au

A track that I've found perfectly suitable to my love/hate relationship with cardio, yearn for breaking a sweat and aspiring to be the female version of Bear Grylls, is the Gibberagong track. It has served me well, starting at Bobbin Head and continuing all the way to North Wahroonga, going past a glorious waterhole as one of the highlights, and many sightings of Lyrebirds, different species of Honeyeaters (namely the red wattlebird) and plenty of hilarious Kookaburras.

All up, this adventure will take about 2-3 Hours, and is 6km one way.

Blue Mountains National Park

This 11,400 square kilometre, World Heritage listed jewel of Australia deserves its' own article which will be coming very soon. Just to put it in perspective: The Greater Blue Mountains is bigger than Puerto Rico and Luxemburg - combined. It deserves a mention here because when in Sydney, it is an absolute must to escape over this way, even for a few hours.

*For more info on various walks you can do in each national park, visit Wild Walks. Their detailed information about each track lets you know what kind of terrain you're in for, wether its steep and rocky or an easy walk in the park. Pun intended.*

West Head

Perhaps the peak of Ku-rin-gai Chase N.P., this famous lookout is not only vast and breath-taking, it takes us back to the 1960's when it was built as a military base. We can sink comfortably into our skin, knowing all is well, and appreciate the eternal beauty that underlies every natural expanse that ever became an arena for human battle.

Avoiding the highway, the road to West Head is also a popular and satisfying motorbike ride.

North Head

Part of Sydney Harbour National Park, the Fairfax Lookout is easy to get to and to the right, offers awe-some skyline, harbour and ferry views, matched by a seemingly infinite expanse of open ocean to the left.

Photo by: Marie Evans via Unsplash

South Head

Infamously known for the worst shipwreck in Australia's history, the cold cliff face of South Head stood proud and intact as the Dunbar expunged itself onto it. Now a memorial site, we see also the Hornby Lighthouse on the tip of South Head, built after the tragic accident to mark the actual entrance.

Other activities include the South Head Heritage trail, swim at Camp Cove or at Lady Bay Beach. 

Northern Beaches -----------

An assembly of exuberant beaches, as if hidden in plain sight like most natural wonders. Where else in the world do you have 25 stunning beaches, all very different, most - unpopulated, side by side, all accessible by foot and encompassing a number of walking along the coastline? Unlike the shuffling herd of backpackers, tourists and locals at Bondi on a summer’s day, venturing out to Bilgola or Warriewood Beach would prove worth your time.

Avoiding traffic as much as possible, you can make the route from the CBD to Palm Beach in 1 hour. But if you leave at 3pm on a Friday, it will take you around 3.

Nestled in the furthermost iota, Church Point, Whale Beach and corners of Avalon teem with wilderness, an invitation to take it a little slower. Get yourself an airbnb down this way for a couple of days, at least. It is very common for people to own fantastic holiday homes here and rent them out on Airbnb.

Shelly Beach - Photo by: Northern Beaches Council

Snorkelling/Diving at Shelly Beach in Manly is an activity that locals have made into an informal ritual. Even as they continue to do it regularly, the diversity and wonder that comes with it doesn't tire, it doesn't wear out. Unlike other popular beaches that lose its' magic after a while, Shelly and its headland remain strangely... other-worldly.

Eastern Beaches ----------

Before European settlement, Bondi was occupied by a number of Indigenous clans that were basically wiped out by smallpox by 1830. Although today there exist a handful of notable, proud Aboriginal locals who run tours in the area and purposefully transmit their stories and knowledge to the curious, they weren’t always included in the city’s general plan.

Bondi’s beach faces south, a rarity along an east-facing coastline, meaning the constant wash of the tide has shaped the bay deeper and deeper, creating a perfect haven. This attractive corner of the world attracted many eyes in its time, now holding a variety of well kept Art Deco, Victorian and Spanish architecture. Australian architect Leslie Wilkinson adopted the classic arched columns, lavish balconies and intricate detail from the Spanish, their dedicated, hedonistic approach to lounging and being present with family and friends was obviously contagious and fit perfectly with the setting and climate of Sydney.

Bondi to Coogee Walk

A 6km adventure with an ability to hypnotise you with its soothing, ever-changing coastline. With each different yet familiar break, you are whisked into your senses through a most beautiful corner of the world.

Photo by Quentin Grignet on Unsplash

Museums/Art -------

Art Gallery of NSW

This impressive centre holds over 40 exhibitions annually, ranging from Australian to European to Asian art and artists. If you're here on a Wednesday, the gallery is open until 10pm for a weekly event: Art After Hours. Showcasing live music, lectures and celebrity talks, drawing workshops, film screenings, gallery tours and other events – and, of course, nocturnal access to its latest exhibitions.

Photo by: Art Gallery of NSW


Fostering creativity and critical thinking, the MCA houses all types of contemporary art, with strong holdings in photography, paintings, sculptures, works on paper and moving image.

I particularly admire their focus on Aboriginal art and culture, playing a huge part in educating younger generations with fundamental knowledge of the past, and present. With a plethora of learning programs which you can find here, the MCA challenges you to question yourself and the world around you.

Photo by: My ARTBAR


Apart from holding space for the busiest Saturday markets of the city, Carriageworks lives and breathes an eccentric compilation of experimental theatre, contemporary art installations and cultural festivals.

It is considered the most significant multi-arts centre in Australia, with a history so congruent with its values; being one of the first places to employ Aboriginal people as equals.

Carriageworks NIght Markets

White Rabbit 

Founder Judith Neilson created the self-funded non-profit gallery to house her epic collection of 21st century Chinese art. And entry is always free. The White Rabbit is known for putting on bold and sometimes confronting exhibitions. 

Culture ----------


Photo by: Yoav Hunrog on Unsplash

Oh, 1969, what a fucking year.

The degree of war and fear soared so high, it didn’t create - it combusted revolution.

The Summer of Love, Woodstock, the influx and research of LSD, the ‘hippie’, African-American and queer movements; to understand one, you must unravel many strings in the tangled times of ’69.

From a legal perspective, here were the broader facts:

- It was illegal to be homosexual.

- It would take another four years before the American Psychiatric Association took homosexuality off its official list of mental illnesses.

- Bogus laws dictated ridiculous, open to interpretation claims like: one must wear 3 pieces of ‘gender appropriate’ clothing at all times.

From a social perspective:

- Many were excluded from society, kicked out of home for coming out.

- Countless were raped, humiliated and beaten to within an inch of their life.

- Too many, were murdered.

With that in the backdrop, inextricable events that decade took place; one fuelled another, fuelled another, and in this chaos we hold a few in the spotlight as they carry particular significance in marking the start of a revolution, helping us understand how painful it was to have a voice.

Photo by: Harvard Gazette

The Stonewall riots are up on centre stage taking place in New York on 28th June 1969, it is considered the start of the gay rights movement, and involved a series of events where the people stood up and fought back.

It has been a long road since then, growing up 50 years ago was very different indeed.

We can thank every person who’s stood their ground and united in the name of love for the ability to walk proudly today.

Sydney is considered to be one of the gay capitals of the world, we have embraced love as love and paraded exploding colour for 41 years now. 

Throughout the year, Heaps Gay have been throwing weekly parties for the last 5 years, and in 2015 created a website as a platform where the queer community can discuss issues and share their stories.

GiRLTHING, founded in 2008, has been the constant, driving bass line in the melody of Sydney’s LGBTQ scene. Always supporting local talent, every last Saturday of the month at The Imperial Hotel (an anchor venue for the community and supporting the art of drag since the 80’s) I recommend that everybody, no matter your sexual orientation, to go experience what it’s like to be at a party where the usual judgement simply does not exist.

Refusing to embody your typical patriarchal conservative approach, the queer community does not attempt to beat hate with hate. In fact, it's the opposite. Everyone is welcome.

Take a stroll down Oxford Street to experience the most eccentric side of the city.

The main clubs to check out are Arc, Stonewall, Oxford Hotel and the Colombian Hotel.

Slyfox, in the inner-west houses the weekly Birdcage party every Wednesday, and manages to escape the lock out and noise restrictions, switching to silent disco from 3am until 6m.

Sydney’s underground scene has taken a beating, but is still kicking. The arcanely repressive lock-out laws has parties shifting from venue to venue, and although it’s nothing like it used to be 10-15 years ago, the people will prevail, I’m sure of it.

Culture Scouts

A collective focused entirely on the essence that makes us ticks - art - educating the people, locals and travellers alike about iconic and lesser-known street art, museums and more. With guides who share personal stories, every experience is bound to be unique here, as it should be.


A word on minorities:

We owe this to those who stood up for the people.

The fact that we are able to walk down the street, dressed in drag, gleaming with glitter and shout “I FUCKING LOVE TO SUCK COCK, I LOVE WHO I AM” and be not only supported but applauded for it, is a gigantic achievement.

Touching on the gravest pits of fear, having your identity revealed back then meant abuse on every level.

It could be said that the deepest of humans fears are; inability to provide for yourself and/or family financially, complete exclusion from society, and murder.

Those who protested in favour or freedom stood against all of these, and even more sickly and paradoxically, simultaneously stood against police.

Law enforcement are notorious for instilling a snow-ball effect of fear, violence and cruelty towards minorities. Trumped only by love and unity, today we rejoice in their ground-breaking effect.

In life we have many different stairs to climb simultaneously, and our position differs with each phenomenon. Today, we stand much closer to the top of the Gay Rights Movement set of stairs. And now, at the cusp of the New Paradigm, we must continue the steep climb towards a world based on truth, speaking and acting from the heart.

“Once the minority, now the majority!”

- Unknown man, overheard by my friend Stacey at Burning Seed, while grinding freely with friends.


Historic Buildings ----------

Opera House

Photo by: Liane Lee via Unsplash

After winning the competition, Danish architect Jorn Utzon began materialising his revolutionary concept of what was to be Sydney’s Opera House.

Although many architects draw on the infatuating blueprints of nature, eg. Antoni Gaudi - I find the design here especially poetic.

If you’re familiar with the Fibonacci sequence, incorporated by the number PHI (pronounced *fee*, not to be confused with PI) of 1.618, you know that this is the mathematical equivalent of the pattern of life. Present in the shape of waves, shells, trees, lungs, the solar system and the human brain, this equation has been one of, if not THE most investigated scientific phenomenon in history.

Sketches from Jorn Utzon's notepad

What this tells us, in broad strokes, is that every atom in the universe is interconnected in ways that we do not yet comprehend. It is a notion to take comfort in, knowing that life is not merely a random accident, rather, a perfectly precise design.

It was using this equation that Jorn Utzon based his design of the Opera House. Breaking the pattern of all else around him, no gothic, no victorian, no 90 degree angles - Utzon drew on the geometric design of the universe - sacred geometry. An absolutely timeless expression of the human mind in relation to the nature to which it belongs.

Harbour Bridge

It took more than 100 years for the idea of a bridge spanning the northern and southern shores of the harbour to become reality.

Convict architect Francis Greenway proposed a bridge over Sydney Harbour to Governor Macquarie as early as 1815.

By 1916 a suitable design was submitted, and it wasn’t until 1932 that it opened.

In true rebel spirit, the legend of Captain Francis de Groot of the New Guard rings true.

Slashing the ribbon of the bridge with this mighty sword, moments before the official opening, he claimed that the bridge should have been opened by member of the royal family.

Town Hall

Sydney Town Hall has been the seat of the city’s administration and the Lord Mayor’s office for over 120 years.

Blending neo-classical and French Second Empire, and an extra edgy feel - being built on the first European cemetery.


Initially built as a space for markets and trading, over many decades the supreme Building has transformed into a versatile space, housing a concert hall, showrooms, and a wide variety of upscale shops and restaurants.

Elaborate Romanesque architecture was chosen for the Queen Victoria Building, which now after a major refurbishment stands proudly at 121 years old.

Cadman's Cottage

Originally John Cadman’s home, it is now Sydney’s oldest surviving residential building, and has been protected as a heritage site since 1972.

Convicted of stealing a horse, Cadman became a well respected member of the community working as a coxswain (a lifeboat’s skipper), and eventually received a pardon.

Custom’s House

For many years the Customs House site was thought of as the place where Captain Arthur Phillip raised the Union Flag on 26 January 1788.

Sydney’s Customs House opened on 17 April 1845 and was home to the Australian Customs Service for 145 years. It dominated the waterfront as a symbol of British power over sea and trade.

Expanding to fit needs accordingly, it was also a place where foreigners were tested under the ghastly White Australia Policy, it was basically the centre of trade policy.

Nowadays, it is refreshing to see this history piece represent a more well-rounded version of events, acknowledging aboriginal peoples, and stands less as a symbol of power but as a vehicle of live history.

Photo by: Sydney Living Museums

Government House

Located adjacent to the Royal Botanic Garden, it is one of the finest and best kept examples of gothic revival architecture in Australia.

You don’t have to be a fan of the government itself to appreciate the stunning architecture which is an artwork in itself, along with paintings and gardens. They don’t make them like this anymore.

Hyde Park Barracks

Sydney - a city built by convicts.

But can we really hold on the same scale, one who has stolen a pack of gum, and one who committed murder?

Given the unsteady grounds on which these talented botanists, architects, artists and scientists alike were pronounced guilty, it’s clear that even their own tribe suffered the battering attitude of the British Empire.

However, we were all given many reasons to celebrate their work; as they, quite literally, created the foundational structure of our society.

Photo by: Sydney Living Museums

If you’re one to indulge in time travelling and would like to further understand the grounding truths behind all the elaborate constructions of Sydney - a visit to the Hyde Park Barracks will prove worth your time.

Now considered one of the most significant convict sites in the world, the UNESCO World Heritage list highlights the important episodes once played here.

First, as accomodation for those very convicts. Later, an immigration depot for female settlers, and now used for courtrooms and government offices.

Food & Wine ---------

Anyone can look up the top 10 or 100 restaurants in any city, as you should. But my personal, low-key favourites include:

Fatima's - Surry Hills

Mamak - Chinatown

Handmade Noodle and Dumpling - Bondi

Sean's Panorama - Bondi

Ester - Chippendale

Cairo - Newtown

Grappa Ristorante e Bar - Leichardt

East Phoenix Chinese Restaurant - Zetland

Wild Cockatoo Bakery - Redfern

Love, Tilly Devine - Darlinghurst

Dear Saint Eloise - Darlinghurst

Urban Winery - Moore Park

(Literally a complete winery in the middle of Sydney. Head here if you love funky orange wine.)

Sydney Fish Market

The 3rd largest fish market in the world, is still a working port, and in the process of being moved and renovated into an even bigger space (2020).

Music -----------

Photo by: Britt Andrews Photography

The Enmore Theatre - Newtown

The Enmore is Sydney’s oldest and longest running live theatre. Built in 1908, originally an open aired theatre without a roof.

It remains the most iconic music venues to date, where the most diverse range of performers can be found. From the Rolling Stones, to Lily Allen and Stephan Bodzin, this art deco building attracts lovers of life and fans of music, holding a very unique and enriching energy.

The Newtown area in general is considered the music hub of the city today. With many artists having emerged from there, the community is unlike any other.

It was dotted with 8 or more theatres during the 1940’s, now the most active being The Enmore, The Dendy and New Theatre, there's always something to do and see here.

For a more intimate live performance, head to The Vanguard.

*For the Jazz fans*

Venue 505 - Surry Hills

Moya's Juniper Lounge - Redfern

Other venues to keep a regular eye on:

Oxford Art Factory

The Metro Theatre

Lansdowne Hotel (plus natural wine and great pizza)

If you're interested in techno/minimal/underground scene, shoot me a line.

“Falling into their (an Aboriginal’s) gaze was like tumbling into thousands of years of being an Australian."


Any feedback, comments or contributions to this article are welcome.

Updated: Apr 27

Photo by Joey Csunyo on Unsplash

Photo by Hamish Weir on Unsplash

The history of Australia is tainted black by a brutal period of time that shall forever be remembered.

Until recently, very few dared to stare truth in the face. But now, the air of justice is contagious and brings us to kneel humbly to the rightful custodians of the land.

Humans have imposed the utmost pain and fear on each other, in this civilisation and long before. Even Ancient Egyptians, who are believed to have developed a connection with a 'mysterious' and majorly advanced source of technology that we have yet to fully understand, had the tar of corruption trickle down into their society.

Our job, as citizens of today, is to learn from those dark times and choose differently.

Think differently. Act differently.

Here's a look at a few key points and their roles in shaping the unique, rich and diverse place I call home.

Way Back When

It's tragically funny thinking back to what we were told in primary school about the history of Australia. Chapter 1 began with 1770 - The year Captain Cook 'discovered' the land.

But that's a huge lie. Why isn't it illegal to lie to young children? Luckily, I have a functioning brain and did my own research, discovering that the first Homo Sapiens arrived in Australia through Asia around 60,000 years ago. That's such a long time to develop a culture. You might say: "Well, they didn't build anything, they just lived in the bush."

It is paramount that we reframe the way progress is measured, as Western values do not even slightly reflect those of the Indigenous, they are in fact kind of opposite. The Western world lives by the outside, by material things, not by inner wisdom.

Sheree Cairney explains fantastically in this video.

Even excluding all of that, the school textbook was still wrong.

The first European contact with Australia was from the Dutch in 1616, and Chinese records mention an 'unknown Southern land' dating back to the 15th century.

The Beginning of The End of Aboriginal supremacy

Endeavour was the ship led by Captain Cook, containing some of Britain’s most decorated scientists, astronomers, and botanists, most notably Joseph Banks. Naturally, they were absolutely stunned by the sheer diversity of this land, where the local community lived in harmony with flora and fauna, thus allowing it to flourish even further during the years they inhabited.

Cook’s Secret Instructions disclose the quest for scientific discovery, combined with the desire to find exploitable natural resources, ultimately to expand Britain’s control of strategic trading posts around the globe. Orders were given to befriend the locals, cultivate their friendship and alliance, and annex any convenient trading posts in the King’s name.

However, the captains’ approach was much harsher than the brief, using fatal force against spears and sometimes outright attack. Captain Cook and his fleet birthed what would evolve to be the multi-generational monster that forced so much tragedy upon the Indigenous.

Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash

In a beautiful example of making the best of a worst-case scenario: A mishap occurred leading the ship to run aground the Great Barrier Reef, and the voyage was delayed for 7 weeks. Fortunately, Joseph Banks was amongst one of the botanists on board who, during that time, would go on to make their first major collection of Australian flora, and also adapt some words from the local Guugu Yimidhirr people into the English language - eg. Kangaroo, derived from gangurru.

The beautiful, grandiose flowers of Banksia were also named after Joseph Banks.

This voyage continued on to the northern tip of Cape York, where Cook would claim the eastern half of the continent for King George III, and return home.

First Fleet

18 years later, in 1788, the English were back to stay.

The First Fleet consisted of 11 ships, packed with supplies including weapons, tools, building materials and livestock. The ships also contained 751 convicts – of various nationalities – and around 250 British soldiers.

In the years that followed, some of the most cruel, backwards and ridiculous events took place, the details of which are painful and cowardly yet understandably avoided through modern history. In a nutshell; The 'new Australians' did everything they could to 'exterminate' the Aboriginals. From introducing new diseases and intentionally spreading them, to slavery and downright murder - it's no surprise that within a century, 90% of Aboriginals were gone.

John and Elizabeth MacArthur, best known as the pioneers of the wool industry, were powerful for a number of reasons. John was also a member of the ‘Rum Corps’ who used spirits (mainly rum) as currency and were indivisibly corrupt with the government. This allowed them to gain more and more land, which led to the further expulsion of Native Peoples in the search for more pasture and water. A new jail was also created in Tasmania (previously known as Van Diemen's land), where most of the convicts from the mainland were sent.

Gold Rush

In 1851, gold was discovered in NSW and central Victoria. The news exploded across Europe and China, and every social class headed for the diggings. The time was so chaotic and unruly, that the government (in an effort to deter hungry fortune seekers) introduced a heavy licensing fee, which only resulted in uproar and rebellion.

From here stemmed the Eureka Stockade, told as a story of nationhood and admirable fervour, when in fact it was an unnecessary tragedy. It is the story of a rebellion (against the gold taxes and the government itself) that took place in Ballarat, Victoria, of a one-sided battle where the British government defeated the gold miners in around 15 minutes.

Talk about 15 minutes of fame!

Between 1851 and 1861, Australia produced one third of the world's gold. By the end of the 19th century, Australia was the largest producer of gold in the world.

The Fruit of Gold

By 1880, Sydney and Melbourne glowed and buzzed as they became modern cities, equipped with gaslighted streets, electricity, and a taste for wealth. Western Australia was about 50 years being the East, mostly because of the sheer geographical distance from the hustle and bustle.

01 Jan 1901 - Australia became a federation of 6 states, the Commonwealth of Australia. The Australian Labor Party (ALP) was officially credited (although radical activists had begun its formation 10 years prior), and a sense of nationhood and independence swept through the nation, bringing with it an avalanche of fear and racism which consumed most of the population. In an effort to 'preserve' Australian ways of living, the White Australia Policy was introduced and would be in full effect for the next 70 years. It included legislative pieces such as the Immigration Restriction Act (1901) aimed at minimising the number of foreign - mainly Chinese- able to enter, work and live in Australia.

(Today, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, we can see that the Chinese not only overcame the federal-level racism, but have imparted a plethora of foods, flavours, liveliness and knowledge from their culture into this new home. The Chinese have many ancient practices and wisdom (such as the Tao) reaching beyond this life as we know it, being the oldest civilisation in the world.)

In 1895 - New Zealand led the world, closely followed by South Australia in legalising women's vote.

1915 - Young Australia has its' first taste of death as soldiers and the nation endured 8 months of fierce battle at the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. By that time, 8,141 Australians were gone.

By the end of WWI, that number jumped to 60,000.

1920 - In a global trance of pleasure, money, sex and music, we can only imagine the lustful affairs of a thriving economy paired with American jazz. The roaring 20's were here.

1929 - But as history will tell, time and time again, there is no high without the lows.

The Great Depression sucked many into its sink-hole, as unemployment rose and morale plummeted.

(The previous summer, Black Sunday was a term that stuck to describe the terrible day when hundreds of people were rescued and 5 people drowned in the unforgiving surf at Sydney's Bondi Beach).

1932- Against the backdrop of a rough few years, the 1932 Ashes series offered a legendary escape, and we saw Australia clinging to the sport of cricket as a means of hope and joy, as many countries have always done in times of hardship. The history of Australia would not be complete without mentioning cricket, you could say it's the closest thing to religion this mostly Atheist society hold close to their heart. (as well as Rugby).

1939 - During WWII, Darwin was only city ever bombed in the war. Significantly - USA came to rescue, not Britain. This left an immensely bitter taste in everyone's mouth, especially with ANZAC battle so fresh - which led to the creation of ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty), solidifying the alliance between Australia and the US.

Consequently, Robert Menzies, the longest serving Prime Minister in history, stood in full support of America during the Vietnam War, introducing conscription for military service overseas. On the other side of the spectrum, Menzies also introduced the Commonwealth Electoral Act, which provided that all Indigenous Australians should have the right to enrol and vote at federal elections.

From this point onwards in history we see a positive curve beginning to emerge. Many movements happening globally were transforming the world from living in a basis of fear to living in abundance. A paradigm shift was happening. The era of the discovery and experimentation of psychedelics melded the spirit of activists and it's contagious mind-expanding notions with a world in need of love, and it even reached the remote continent of Australia.

Gough Whitlam

As well as often being crowned by many as the most forward-thinking Prime Minister in Australia's history, his government transformed the country in just four short years.

From 1972-end of 1975, they:

  • Ended overseas military conscription and abolished all university fees

  • Introduced a free universal health-care scheme

  • No-fault divorce

  • The principle of Aboriginal Australian land rights

  • Equal pay for women

  • The White Australia policy had been gradually falling into disuse, and under Whitlam it was finally abandoned altogether.

By now, around one million migrants had arrived from non-English-speaking countries, and they had filled Australia with new languages, cultures, foods and ideas.

Under Whitlam this achievement was embraced as ‘multiculturalism’.

At the end of 1975 his government was controversially dismissed from office by the governor-general, the Queen's representative within Australia. But the general thrust of Whitlam's social reforms was continued by his successors. The principle of Indigenous land rights was expanded, and from the 1970s Asian immigration increased, and multiculturalism became a new national orthodoxy. Not only that, but China and Japan far outstripped Europe as major trading partners − Australia's economic future lay in Asia.

Continued Development

John Howard, the second longest serving Prime Minister from 1996-2007 re-established the push for fighting overseas battles, sending troops to Iraq. As a right-wing conservative, Howard stood refusing to acknowledge climate change, although the main focus was the huge economic growth and trade agreements made with China and other parts of Asia, which is what ultimately won him support.

2007 - Kevin Rudd most famously made a public apology to the Indigenous Community, a huge and humble step. Although a lot of promises were made, the Rudd government faced unprecedented difficulties as the global economy crashed in 2008.

Since 2013 the Prime Minister seat has changed hands several times: Julia Gillard, Rudd (again); then three Liberal Party leaders in quick succession, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison (current.)

Looking at the recent musical chairs and nation-wide dissatisfaction with the current state of Australia's political stance, it's quite obvious that the model of Australian politics is in desperate need of reform, or rather, full blown transformation.

Former Rudd advisors Lachlan Harris & Andrew Charlton published this analysis looking at long-term trends in federal elections since 1987.

Steady democracy, they predict, will end up being regarded not as a norm but a 20th and early 21st-century phenomenon “that we are watching, quite painfully, die out”.

All this means is that we are entering a new paradigm shift. The cycle of evolution means we are constantly facing problems and finding solutions. Getting comfortable with change, instead of trying to revert to a comfortable ‘norm’ is the key to superseding the inability to find comfort in social constructs.

There is no other place on Earth that is a such a global reflection of the many different cultures, people, lifestyles that exist. Being from Brazil, I had never seen or tasted any kind of Asian food (albeit it was a very, very small town) before I arrived in Australia, and was not familiar with other types of cultures. They remained a mysterious other world that I never witnessed, whereas here, we are made better citizens of the world even by the subconscious effect of having a thousand different restaurants to choose from, every day. Embracing our rich history as people enables us to move forward from a place of love, not fear.

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